With many of the country’s safest and loveliest beaches, and a year-round balmy climate, it is not surprising that the Algarve is Portugal’s most popular region for holiday-makers. All of the beaches in these are areas are easily are first-rate, as are the facilities. Elsewhere in the Algarve, especially around Sagres and Tavira, the surroundings are more attractive, with laidback resorts and low-key development.
To the west of Vilamoura, you’ll find the rocky outcrops and cove beaches for which the Algarve is best known, especially around the main resorts of Albufeira, Armação de Pêra and Lagos. Lagos is another great self catering destination. Its an ideal location for a family holiday rental.
The coast becomes progressively wilder as you head west, where attractive smaller resorts include the former fishing villages of Salema or Burgau, and the historic cape of Sagres – thought to be the site of Henry the Navigator’s naval school. The string of villages along the rougher west coast, as far as Odeceixe, are quieter still, with limited facilities but fantastic wild beaches ideal for surfing.
ARMAÇÃO DE PÊRA, 15km west of Albufeira, fronts one of the largest beaches in the Algarve, which spreads east all the way to Galé. It has a pedestrianized promenade overlooking the central part of the sands. The remains of the town’s fortified walls are at the eastern end of the resort, where a terrace in front of a little white chapel provides sweeping views. But the town beach is fine and if the main section is crowded, just head further east, beyond the cluster of traditional boats on the fishermen’s beach towards Galé, where things are quieter. Aside from the beaches, the other local attraction is 4km up the main N125 at Porches, where the most famous of the Algarve’s chunky and hand-painted pottery comes from – the main road is lined with shops that sell locally made pottery Armacao de Pera is another great self catering destination and is an ideal location for a family holiday rental location.
A quieter location Salema is no longer the thriving fishing village it once was, but its tight warren of fishermen’s houses above the eastern end of a fine, sandy bay now form the hub of an attractive resort. Many of the old houses are now converted into inexpensive holiday lets check our website www.goholidaylets.com. A plume of modern development spreads steeply uphill, but at least the white villas are in keeping with the old town, and its beach only gets busy in high season.
Once past the modern suburbs, BURGAU, 5km west of Luz, is a pretty little former fishing village of narrow cobbled lanes which tumble down a steep hillside to a fine sandy beach set below low cliffs. Fishing boats still line the lower roads, which double up as slipways, while narrow alleys weave around to a miradouro viewpoint. It retains a distinct character, with locals cooking fish on tiny grills outside their homes. It is another great self catering destination and is an ideal location for a family holiday rental location.
The attractive village of ODECEIXE tumbles down a hillside opposite the broad valley of the Odeceixe River, below the winding, tree-lined main coast road. Sleepy out of season, its character changes in summer when it attracts a steady stream of surfers, campervanners and families, lured by a superb beach and a very laidback atmosphere. Everything centres on the single main street and a small square, Largo 1 de Maio, where you’ll find some lively bars, plenty of cafes, a couple of mini markets, post office, bank and craft shops.
The beach, Praia de Odeceixe, is 4km west of the village, reached down a verdant river valley, the fields either side neatly cultivated with corn. A road-train trundles between village and beach during July and August (approx hourly 10am–5pm), but it’s a lovely walk along the road as well, following the river to a broad, sandy bay framed by low cliffs. It is one of the most sheltered beaches along this stretch of coast, offering superb surfing and relatively safe swimming, especially when the tide is out. There’s lots of parking above the bay, as well as a cluster of houses and cafes, some offering quartos.